In response to an invitation in the local fliers to contact Island Timberlands about their plan for Cortes holdings, I sent this letter to Mackenzie Leine on Feb. 27, 2008. I haven't heard back yet.
By way of introduction, I'm Carrie Saxifrage.
A year or two after I moved here in 1994, my husband and I attended a meeting regarding the forestry plans for Cortes. Having attended many public meetings on a variety of issues, we were astounded to be in agreement with everything the forester had to say. We felt like we had finally arrived home to our real community.
The presentation was of a mapping exercise completed by Herb Hammond of the Silva Forest Foundation. The Klahoose First Nation agreed that his approach to forestry was most in line with traditional culture and the result was a Memorandum of Understanding and the Cortes Ecoforestry Society. At the signing of the MoU, I again felt the honour of living in a community whose values were the same as mine.
I became a director of the Cortes Ecoforestry Society and held various position within that organization for six years, including President and Executive Director. We sought to obtain the strip of lands between Carrington and Squirrel Cove as a treaty contribution to a community forest application by way of a proposal known as the Cortes Initiative, submitted in 2000. That proposal is attached. The Cortes Initiative was accepted in principal just before the government changed hands from the NDP to the Liberals. The Klahoose administration changed at that time as well and the new chief turned his focus to other matters.
The goal of the proposal was cooperation between a First Nation and non-native group to provide a steady wood supply to millers and woodworkers on Cortes while maintaining the ecological integrity of the forest for the benefit of future generations, islanders and all. We wanted a model of how a forest could sustain a small rural community over time. This idea had support of about 80% of the island.
Now, things devolve further, as they will. Mike Reisterer's purchase and devastation of the lands on Sutil Point and Bartholemew mean that we live with the daily reminder of what forests managed for immediate profit look like. He mouthed the words "sustainable forestry" and went through the motions of community consultation even while he cut the trees. He still doesn't seem to understand why we didn't trust him.
That experience lead to some soul searching on the part of the community, resulting in 2006 in the petition signed by 329 island residents and landowners stating we will not support a rezone of recently logged lands. http://www.cortesisland.com/tideline/show362a/329_request_forestland_protection;
In contrast, Renewal Land Company applied for a rezone prior to logging and offered the community retention of 70% of the forest on its lands and has received, by and large, community support. http://www.cortesisland.com/renewal/
I don't know the intentions of Island Timberlands. This community's experiences lead me to make the following suggestions in order of preference:
-Work with CES to obtain a community forest with those lands as a private contribution. Community based management will make Brookfield Asset Management status as an ethical investment more viable. I know many people who would do everything they can for our success, my self included.
-Manage the lands using ecosystem based forestry as advocated by the Silva Forest Foundation or Wildwood. Even without community management, ecosystem-based forestry makes sense in terms of community relations and carbon sequestration, two issues that ethical investment funds and pension funds are likely to understand.
-Work with the Cortes community to create a pre-logging rezone proposal that will combine a few high-end house sites with 70% of land covenanted for forest preservation or eco-system based forestry as advocated by Herb Hammond of the Silva Forest Foundation, using Renewal Land Company's model.
-Don't "log and talk". The community won't believe anything you say.
-Don't try to "log and flog." If you log, expect overwhelming opposition to using the land for real estate values through a rezone. We are commited to forests for the next generation. Also, given that 16% of global warming is due to conversion of forest lands, economists are talking about forest value for carbon sequestration (eg, Big Foot, The New Yorker, Feb. 25 2008 at p 52) and investment firms are taking initiative to prevent further carbon emissions (http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/feb/15/investmentfunds.economics)
it seems a foolish time to continue logging when standing trees are increasing in value.
I believe there is a way forward that benefits all interests and will do my best to help any outcome that consists of ecosystem based logging as defined by Herb Hammand or 70% of lands protected by preservation covenants. I would like to know IT's estimate of the sale value of these lands as, over time, the community has considered organizing a package for their purchase.
These forests are beloved. It would be extremely difficult for the community to swallow their destruction for the benefit of distant shareholders. I would be surprised if ethical investment funds and pension funds want to participate in logging of forests that results in destruction of community aspirations that are so clearly delineated and have been worked toward for so long by so many.
Thank you for your attention to this email.